Disclosure of Patients’ Protected Health Information to a News Reporter

St. Joseph’s Medical Center has settled with the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) over a HIPAA investigation regarding the disclosure of patients’ protected health information to a news reporter. The medical center provided a national media outlet with access to COVID-19 patients’ information without obtaining written authorization. OCR determined that three patients’ information was disclosed, including diagnoses, medical statuses, vital signs, and treatment plans. As a result, St. Joseph’s Medical Center paid $80,000 to OCR and agreed to implement a corrective action plan, including developing written policies and procedures that comply with HIPAA. OCR will monitor the medical center for two years to ensure compliance.

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